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  • Women in Nepal

    Migrant Rights and Justice

    Women’s Refugee Commission Joins Nearly 200 Organizations In Letter to Secretary Kelly Opposing to Plan to Separate Migrant Families at the Border

    Washington, DC -- Today, nearly 200 national, state and local organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly expressing opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed plan to separate migrant families at the border. Secretary Kelly has now twice remarked that he is considering such a move in order to deter families from seeking protection at our borders. The letter calls on Secretary Kelly to “reverse course on any policy proposal that would seek to tear apart families or otherwise inflict trauma and harm.” It also notes that separating families undermines their ability to seek asylum, a right protected by both U.S. and international law.

    ICYMI: Kelly says DHS won't separate families at the border

    Washington, DC -- According to a CNN report, US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Senate Democrats yesterday that he does not intend to separate mothers and children seeking refuge at the border. This comes after previous statements that the agency was considering separation as a deterrent.

    The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) is pleased with this development, as it affirms what WRC has long known to be true – that separating asylum seekers' families in an effort to punish them for seeking protection and to deter other families from coming to the U.S. is cruel, un-American, illegal, and ineffective.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to Kelly’s Remarks that DHS Will Not Separate Families at Border

    Washington, DC - Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing that DHS would not separate mothers seeking protection at the southern border from their children except in rare circumstances, such as if the child’s life was endangered. Both Senator Heitkamp and Senator Harris asked about the issue.

    Trump Administration Won’t Routinely Separate Families At The Border After All

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Wednesday he is not planning to routinely split up children and mothers at the U.S.-Mexico border, after previously alarming immigrant advocates by suggesting such a policy would help deter illegal border crossings.

    Speaking before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kelly said he would separate families apprehended at the border “only if the situation at that point in time requires it” ― for example, if a mother is sick or addicted to drugs. He said he “can’t imagine” doing it unless there is reason to believe a child is in danger.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Announces Support for We Belong Together Kids Caravan and Week of Action

    Washington, DC - The Women’s Refugee Commission is proud to stand alongside our partners at National Domestic Workers Alliance, WeCount!, PowerU, the American Friends Service Committee, the Women’s March, #LoveArmy, MomsRising, FLIC, Make it Work and 40 children and youth to launch the We Belong Together Kids Caravan and Week of Action, which will call for an end to the trauma caused by family separation and deportation.

    Tightening of Borders Makes Women Invisible Along Balkan Refugee Route

    As borders have tightened along the western Balkan route to Europe, more lone female refugees are arriving in Serbia having experienced violence and trafficking. Many who want to continue their journeys are using even riskier routes and never appear in official data.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Stands for Protection of Detained Immigrants

    Washington, DC - A New York Times articlearticle this morning detailed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning to roll back existing detention standards that govern the treatment and conditions of immigrants in ICE custody. Instead, the article reports, ICE plans to use a basic 18-page checklist currently used by the U.S. Marshals Service to evaluate ICE facilities. The article also notes that the agency is planning to eliminate the Office of Detention Policy and Planning, which has served to develop and improve existing standards across the immigration detention system.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Stands with Sanctuary Cities

    Washington, DC - Yesterday, a federal judge blocked President Donald Trump’s attempt to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that do not comply with U.S. Immigration Officials. The Women’s Refugee Commission stands in support of this ruling and the sanctuary city movement in its attempt to protect vulnerable populations and allow them safe spaces to report crimes without the fear of deportation. We believe that when immigrants and refugees are denied protections from the police, it puts us all in danger.

    ICYMI: Dora Schriro: Don't make immigration custody part of the criminal justice system

    Washington, DC - In her Op-Ed published in The Hill today entitled “Don't make immigration custody part of the criminal justice system,” founding director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning (ODPP) and Commissioner of the Women’s Refugee Commission Dora Schriro writes a comprehensive critique of the news that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will roll back detention standards and close the Office of Detention Policy and Planning (ODPP)

    200 Refugees Are Crossing Mexico to Escape Violence—and to Confront Trump

    At this moment, a group of 200 refugees fleeing violence and gangs in Central America are heading north through Mexico in hopes of seeking asylum when they reach the US border later this week. The caravan, which has been planned with a coalition of Mexican and American organizers, is meant to raise awareness of the perils facing migrants in Mexico as well as the Trump administration's efforts to prevent refugees from legally entering the United States.

    Border Agents Turning Away, Blocking People Seeking Asylum: Report

    Border agents are illegally turning away people seeking asylum or refusing to deal with their requests, according to a report released Wednesday by a human rights group.

    U.S. law requires border agents to refer people who arrive at the border and request asylum to an interview with an asylum officer or to an immigration court. But Human Rights First, which issued a report Wednesday and is briefing Senate offices on the issue Thursday, said that's not what's happening.

    MORE THAN 250 IMMIGRANT AND CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS CALL ON DHS TO HALT EXPANSION OF DEADLY DETENTION SYSTEM

    Following Congress’s Vote to Fund Massive Increase in Deportation Apparatus, Letter Calls for Less Detention, More Accountability

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of Congress’s vote to approve a budget significantly expanding funding for the Trump administration’s federal deportation apparatus, 271 immigrant and civil rights organizations sent a letter today to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly opposing the proposed expansion of the immigration detention system and elimination of minimal detention conditions standards.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Stands for Strong Customs and Border Protection Hiring Standards

    Washington, DC - Women’s Refugee Commission, today, expressed opposition for proposed legislation that would weaken Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hiring standards by waiving the use of polygraph for certain applicants. The bill was introduced last month by U.S. Representative Martha McSally (AZ-02). The use of polygraphs has identified countless cases of criminal activity by applicants that might otherwise have been entrusted with the safety of our nation’s borders. This elimination would leave holes for widespread corruption within the agency and endanger the lives of migrant children and in fact anyone traveling across borders. 

    Letter to Congress to Oppose President Trump's $4.5 Billion Request for Mass Deportation Agenda

    Dear Chairman Cochran, Vice Chairman Leahy, Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey:

    We, the undersigned, immigrant rights, civil and human rights, faith-based, environmental, labor and women’s organizations write to ask you to oppose President Trump’s request for $4.5 billion to fund his executive orders that would fund the construction of a divisive border wall, expand his deportation force and immigration detention and lower accountability for immigration and border agents. We therefore urge you to significantly reduce funding for immigration enforcement and detention in the FY2018 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) appropriations bills until the Administration can demonstrate that there is prioritization and accountability at the agencies.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Expresses Concern Over Mistreatment of Asylum Seekers

    As President Donald Trump’s hasty and indiscriminate deportation force continues to affect men and women throughout the United States, claims of asylum appear to be increasingly ignored or outright rejected, as corroborated by a New York Times report last month. In other cases, asylum seekers are treated as prisoners and held for months in detention centers.
    The following are just two incidents in which the mishandling of asylum cases has put lives in danger, and signals a worrisome pattern for those fleeing violence.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Expresses Concern Over Mistreatment of Asylum Seekers

    Washington, DC - As President Donald Trump’s hasty and indiscriminate deportation force continues to affect men and women throughout the United States, claims of asylum appear to be increasingly ignored or outright rejected, as corroborated by a New York Times report last month. In other cases, asylum seekers are treated as prisoners and held for months in detention centers.

    The following are just two incidents in which the mishandling of asylum cases has put lives in danger, and signals a worrisome pattern for those fleeing violence.

    11 Experts to Watch on Refugee Health

    Refugee health has been called “a public health crisis of this century,” needing as much attention and collaboration over resources as global epidemics such as polio and HIV/AIDS.

    From war trauma to women’s health, refugees have a complex spectrum of medical needs, bringing challenges for displaced populations, their host countries and aid organizations.

    Many refugees who have fled war or ethnic and political violence are exposed to exploitation and abuse along their migration route, leaving them vulnerable to mental health issues such as depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some children born in conflict zones may have to deal with toxic stress for their entire lives.

    ICE Shuts Down Program for Asylum-Seekers

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will soon close a family case management program for asylum-seekers that, as of April 19, housed more than 630 families. According to Sarah Rodriguez, an ICE spokesperson, the program caters to “special populations, such as pregnant women, nursing mothers, [and] families with very young children.” It is currently considered the least-restrictive alternative for asylum-seekers who come to the U.S. illegally. The more common scenario is for immigrants and refugees to be held in prison-like detention centers as they wait for their cases to be heard in the immigration court system.

    Trump administration shutters a program geared to protect immigrant mothers and children

    HOUSTON (AP) — The Trump administration is shutting down the least restrictive alternative to detention available to asylum-seekers who have entered the U.S. illegally, The Associated Press has learned.

    Immigration activists consider the move a callous insult to migrants fleeing traumatic violence and poverty — nearly all the program's participants are Central American mothers and children — by a White House that has prioritized deportations that break up families over assimilating refugees.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Condemns Termination of Family Case Management Program

    Program provided vital support for refugee families and cost much less than detention

    Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Trump administration officially terminated the Family Case Management Program (FCMP).  Since its inception in 2016, the program provided a method of compliance enforcement for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, nursing mothers, families with very young children, and families with other special needs that was a viable and cost-effective alternative to detention.